Performance anxiety and trauma can devastate one's ability to perform in music and other settings. It is estimated that as many as 10-20% of musicians struggle with anxiety every time they step on stage, leading to problems with confidence and focus. Furthermore, anxiety can be a symptom of more profound trauma, which can cause an inability to cope in a performance setting.
For those affected by this double-edged sword, understanding the problem and seeking appropriate resources for help is crucial in healing or managing anxiety symptoms. Therapy or cognitive behaviour therapy options are available to help musicians manage their anxieties and emotions to return to music performances. Even if the anxiety has been caused by something traumatic, education around anxiety and open discussion of feelings are critical steps towards managing it.
Performance anxiety and trauma are real issues that profoundly affect musicians’ ability to express their creativity. Anxiety and trauma can cause immense fear, uneasiness, and tension - physical ailments such as headaches, difficulty sleeping, or trouble breathing due to stress are all too common. With the proper support, however, this difficulty can be managed. There is no single solution - therapy, lifestyle modifications, and medication may help improve symptoms and feelings of anxiety or intense flashbacks associated with anxiety trauma. Incorporating musical elements into therapeutic techniques for anxiety and trauma management has also been shown to be beneficial when seeking treatment. Recognising anxiety and trauma’s far-reaching effects on a person’s life is essential in identifying how best to manage it so individuals don’t sacrifice their ability to pursue their passion for music.